Im Interview: Brian McTernan von Be Well.

Zugegeben: Selten erhalte ich Promomails, die mich mit dem Inhalt regelrecht sprachlos zurücklassen, aber eine davon erhielt ich Ende Juni von Uncle M: es drehte sich um das neue Video zu Confessional von Be Well– eine Band, die im letzten Jahr tatsächlich einfach an mir vorbeirauschte. Sagt mal- als ihr das Video zum allerersten Mal gesehen habt: hatte nur ich da Tränen in den Augen? Ganz sicher nicht, oder?! Song und Video verschmelzen förmlich miteinander: Energetisch, aufwühlend, verletzlich und gleichzeitig kraftvoll. Dieser stetiger Wechsel zwischen den herzzerreißenden Lyrics und den Gedanken, Sorgen und Ängsten der einzelnen Personen ist unfassbar gut gelungen, bricht mich aber dennoch immer wieder auf’s Neue. Weil ich es nachvollziehen kann? Weil es mich wieder in diese ganzen dunklen Ecken bringt, die ich ungern aufsuche? Weil es ein ‚You are not alone‘ Gefühl auslöst & einen gewissen Hoffnungsschimmer aufkeimen lässt? Alles davon. Brian McTernan schmettert dir die ungefilterte Wahrheit ins Gesicht, zeigt, wie es in ihm aussah und teilweise noch immer aussieht. Eindrucksvoll, offen und ohne um den heißen Brei rumzureden- somit auch unheimlich erfrischend.

Wie ihr seht: ich bin wirklich total geflasht und ich muss zugeben, dass Confessional, Strength for Breath und Frozen bei mir rauf und runter laufen und ich von den Songs noch nicht mal ansatzweise gelangweilt bin- ganz im Gegenteil! Am 21. August erscheint das Album The Weight and The Cost via End Hits Records (Oise hat aber auch einfach einen guten Geschmack, das muss man einfach mal sagen!) und Equal Vision Records und ich weiß nicht mehr, wann ich mich zuletzt so sehr auf eine Veröffentlichung gefreut habe. Wirklich! Schaut fix nochmal im Shop von End Hits Records vorbei, dort könnt ihr noch das eine oder andere Exemplar der Platte bestellen: Hier!

Und da mir doch einiges in den Sinn kam, fragte ich für ein Interview an und die Zusage kam nur kurze Zeit später. Wenn doch nur alles so herrlich unkompliziert laufen würde, stimmt’s`? Es ging dabei um Mental Health, Confessional und The Weight and The Cost. Lesenswert!

Vielen Dank an Brian, der sich für das Beantworten die nötige Zeit nahm und sehr offen über alles sprach.

Be Well. Das sind Brian McTernan (Battery // Plattenproduzent im Salad Days Studio in Baltimore), Mike Schleibaum (Darkest Hour), Peter Tsouras (Fairweather), Aaron Dalbec (Bane) und Shane Johnson (Fairweather)- kurz gesagt unser aller Lieblingsband! Ja, denn auch ihr werdet sie lieben (lernen), versprochen!

Mental Health

“I hope it’s not too late, there is pain still inside me, I grew up feeling afraid of the thoughts inside my head and what everyone else must think”

When and how did you first come into contact with mental issues?

My parents had me going to therapy as early as I can remember. I had been a pretty out of control little kid, but it reached an unmanageable level when I was in my early teenage years.

Which thoughts scare you the most?

I have had a constant inner monologue of self-doubt for most of my life. It’s created a creeping feeling of sadness that’s always there. There are parts of myself that, until very recently, I never shared with anyone. I worried that if the people who loved me really knew me, they wouldn’t love me. But the crazy thing is that it’s not like I have some sort of terrible dark secret. Most of things that haunt me are really simple and irrational feelings that have been allowed to grow because I have kept them inside for so long.

“Four weeks in a hospital and not one friend even came”

When and how did you realize that you suffered from depression, and how did you deal with the diagnosis?

When I was younger, my depression showed up mostly as anger. acted out a lot and got kicked out of several schools for fighting. I really didn’t process that what was fueling my anger was sadness and anxiety until I was in my later teens. Once I moved away from home and my environment was less agitating, it was easier to see things more clearly. I could get in touch with the sadness and anxiety in a way that I had not had the ability to do when I was a little kid.

How’d you do at the hospital? What do you remember? & how did you feel the first days after your discharge? What’s changed for you?

It was kind of a fucked up place, and it was not a positive experience. My parents ended it up putting me there against my will when I was 14 because they weren’t sure what else to do. I was on a locked ward with both kids and adults- I don’t think that’s legal now, and I’m actually pretty sure it wasn’t proper then. It definitely wasn’t a good thing. The hardest thing about it was that my parents never told my friends where I was- I think they were embarrassed. I didn’t have any visitors and it was incredibly isolating and lonely. After I left the hospital, I did better for a little while, but soon after my discharge my best friend was killed and I really fell apart again.

“The light inside me slowly fades. There is distance and division between who you loved and who I am today”

Then vs. now: What or who helped you through hard times in the past and who or what is it today?

My wife and old brother have both been amazing throughout all of it. Music in general has been a huge help as well, because it’s given me a sense of community, an outlet to express things that I couldn’t otherwise say, and it has exposed me to people that have struggled with similar issues.

“I could have been better, could have been stronger, should have been brave”

Were you able to confide in your family and friends when you were in a dark place, or did you make many arrangements with yourself?

I should confide in people more than I do. A lot of what I feel I never share with anyone when it’s happening, which only gives it more weight. In the past, I would get so overwhelmed by my feelings at times that I just did my best to block things out, which kind of worked temporarily but then I was left feeling numb and alone. It slowly got worse and I started to feel like I didn’t know who I was anymore. It got to the point that I could hardly bear to be alone with my thoughts and that is what made me want start writing music again. I had a desperate need to get it out.

“Can I change still? I promise you that if I can that I will”

What would be the first thing you would want to change about yourself?

I want to learn to be more present. It breaks my heart how much of my life I missed worrying about what happened in the past, and what could happen in the future. My daughter is growing up so fast and I feel like I have missed a lot of that as well.

“The part of me you loved I’ve locked away”

How would you describe yourself when you are in a depressive phase?

I end up having a defeatist inner monologue that makes me feel isolated and alone. It’s accompanied by trouble sleeping and an inability to be able to process my thoughts in a rational way.

“Since I was young it’s just grown, and grown, and grown. I don’t know where to look,
don’t know where to turn, I don’t know where to go”

Your opinion on therapies and medication?

I think both can be very helpful. I saw a therapist when I was first living on my own and it was super helpful. As an adult, I’ve found that walking and running have done wonders for my anxiety and depression, and working on getting my sleep schedule under control has also helped my mood a lot. I’m not sure that I ever took medications for long enough or consistently enough to tell whether they worked for me when I was younger. On the other hand I know that medications can be the thing that finally help many people. I think it’s really important to treat mental illness like any other illness, and get help if you need it. And if you don’t like the doctor you see, try another one!

“So please help me forget”

People start to talk more and more about mental health- to clear up these disease and to prevent suicide. How do you think about it? Is it long overdue?

I think it is incredibly important and overdue. Stigma about mental illness and mental health treatment is a huge barrier to recovery. We don’t put this kind of guilt trip on people with other health issues, and we shouldn’t do it to people suffering from mental health issues.

“I’ve spent half of my life wishing I was dead”

Many musicians commit suicide because of mental problems: some people portray this as a cowardly way out. What do you think about this?

I have fortunately not had active suicidal feelings since I was very young, although I have had huge portions of my life where everything has felt meaningless and I have not had hope that things would be better. But I think if most of us are honest, we’ve all struggled with hopelessness at some point, and wanted to escape from pain. That’s a normal experience. The problem comes when things get so intense that people start thinking the only way they can get away from the pain is to kill themselves. But most of the time people are making the decision to kill themselves very impulsively. I don’t think it’s helpful to say that suicide is a cowardly way out, because it makes it less likely that someone having these thoughts will talk about it and get support to see other options. Our goal needs to be to make people in crisis feel loved, not judged.

“One day I’ll be better, I hope that you never feel as lost as I do today”

How is your daughter dealing with your illness?

I feel like we are closer than ever right now. One of the most incredible things for me about doing Be Well is that I am sharing the things about myself that I feared would result in rejection, but I actually feel more accepted and closer to my friends and family than ever before. I’ve talked to her about this experience and I hope she carries it with her when she faces her own inevitable situations of worrying about whether to share some part of herself or put on a mask.

Are you afraid that you might have passed it on to her?

I am not concerned about passing the genetic loading for depression on to my daughter, because I wouldn’t want her to be any different than she is. I do worry about how she has experienced my depression and inability to be consistently emotionally present . I also have a deep sadness about how many of the little moments in her life I have missed because I was distracted or numb.

“I don’t know where to run, everything feels so wrong”

As a father- how do you think about parents who keep telling their kids (especially boys) not to cry or show deep emotions?

My deepest aspiration for my daughter is that she love herself and never hide who she is from the world. I think it is very hard for young boys, because there is an implication that you are weak if you show your feelings,. However, I think very similar pressures exist for young girls as well-they are often portrayed as crazy and psycho for expressing themselves.

“And through a different lens, the glass is half full. In fact, I got it”

Acceptance of this disease is still difficult for me today: How do you get closer to acceptance?

I am doing my best to look at things in life differently and be more open and transparent with my emotions. I want to learn to enjoy small successes and not let the idea of future failures take away from them. I’m working on staying in better touch with people and sharing more of myself with them, as well as being a better father, husband, and friend. I’m trying to get more comfortable with difficult emotions rather than just avoid them.

Confessional

How did the idea for the video come about?

The concept is people sharing intimate fears with the people they love. We didn’t coach anyone on what to say, and you realize while watching the video how universal a lot of the feelings are.

Why did you choose this song?

The lyrics on the record are a combination of hope and pain, and we felt like this song represented both of those feelings well.

What feedback did you get after the release?

It’s been incredible. I have received touching and personal notes from so many people I have known my whole life and people that I have never met.

A very personal and touching lyric: does it cost you any effort to show your inner self to the outside world in this way? Do you sometimes have doubts about it?

I don’t regret putting this out in the word, but I was very scared to do it. At several points leading up to the release I thought about backing away, but I am proud of myself for not giving up and thankful for the hardcore/punk community for giving me a place to express myself throughout my life.

Since you are so open about it: have there ever been hostilities on the Internet or towards you personally?

Not yet, but it won’t surprise me if that comes eventually. I can’t worry about it… I spent too much of my life ashamed about thoughts and feelings I was having, and it was crippling. I feel surrounded by people that love and accept me and I can’t worry about everyone else.

The Weight and The Cost

What can we expect in terms of lyrics and music?

I think “Strength For Breath” and “Confessional” give you a good map of what to expect. We wanted the music to have feeling, emotion, and energy. The lyrics are very personal throughout and chronicle my journey here.

In these difficult times only a few bands are releasing new records: were there any thoughts about that with you?

I wish we were able to tour and support the record, but we really wanted it out in the world now. I feel like a lot of the isolation addressed in the lyrics will resonate with people right now.

Did you expect that the first edition would be sold out so quickly? What was going through your minds?

No, it’s really amazing. Up until the day it came out I was preparing myself for rejection and to have the response be so positive is hard to describe.

Here is now space for your advertising: why should we all buy this album?

We poured our hearts and humanity in to making this record. Everyone in the band has spent their lives making music and we are grateful for the love and support we have received.

Some words about End Hits Records and Equal Vision Records:

Amazing friends who are honest, passionate, and unwavering in their love of music.

Since there will be no concerts for an indefinite time: do you have anything special
planned for the release?

Not right now. I would love to do some streaming performances, but with all of us trying to keep social distant, we have not been able to work on anything like that. We have a European tour scheduled for March of 2021, and I really hope that happens. I miss touring and connecting with people and we can’t wait to play once people have the full record.

Anything else you wanna add?

Thank you!!!

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